Gilad Shalit Tape 0

The Israeli government has released 20 Palestinian prisoners – the majority of them members of terror groups – in return for a video that verifies the health of captured solider Gilad Shalit.

In the video, Gilad speaks to the camera:

“Hello, I am Gilad, son of Noam and Aviva Schalit, brother of Hadas and Yoel, who lives in Mitzpe Hila. My ID number is 300097029.

“As you see I am holding in my hands the Palestine newspaper of September 14, 2009, published in Gaza. I am reading the paper in order to find information regarding myself, hoping to find some information from which I would learn of my release and upcoming return home. I have been hoping and waiting for the day of my release for a long time. I hope the current government under Binyamin Netanyahu will not waste the chance to finalize a deal, and I will therefore be able to finally have my dream come true and be released.

“I wish to send regards to my family and say to them that I love and miss them and yearn for the day in which I will see them again.

“Dad, Yoel and Hadas, do you remember the day when you visited my base on the Golan Heights on December 31st, 2005, that if I am not mistaken was called Revaya B. We walked around the base and you took photos of me on the Merkava tank and on one of the old tanks at the entrance to the base. We then went to a restaurant in one of the Druse villages and on the way we took photos on the side of the road with the snow-capped Mount Hermon in the background.

“I wish to say to you that I feel good, health-wise, and the Mujahadeen of the Izzadien al-Qassam Brigades are treating me very well. Thank you and goodbye.”

This unending appeasement of terror for little gain is something that the Israeli state will regret – every act of weakness will be exploited. How many more murderers and terrorists must be released before the Israeli state still fails to return Gilad to his home?

It is a troubling scenario – Israeli has a duty to its soldiers; but it also has a duty to its people, and will granting Hamas agitprop trophies and imprisoned killers do anything for Israel’s fortunes and survival in the long run?

This move will not spell peace for the Palestinians, it will increase the chances of another Hamas-started war. As long as such a despotic group exists, there can be no liberty or democracy for the people of Gaza.

This exchange is reminiscent of the release of Samir Kuntar. The moment he walked into Lebanon as a free man spelt the end of a hard earned 60 years cultivating the image of Israel as a capable, tough and proud state. Samir Kuntar is one of the most despised villains of Israeli society: a vicious murderer, his crimes included the inhuman beating to death of a three year old Israeli girl in front of horrified witnesses.

My horror at the release of this epitome of evil is not the support for his crimes that is propagated by Middle Eastern fundamentalist media outlets and despotic governments; it is not even shock at the (frankly expected) Western indifference for this monster – instead I am appalled by the virus that goes by the name of appeasement that has risen again to infect the integrity – or lack thereof – manifested by the weak politicians and activists of the liberal West.

The release of Samir Kuntar, four other terrorists and the hundreds of remains of dead Lebanese murderers marked the beginning of the end. Israel, more than any country, should realise that appeasement is a policy that will never work to their advantage.Machiavelli once wrote, “…one should never permit a disorder to persist in order to avoid a war, for war is not avoided thereby but merely deferred to one’s own disadvantage.”

Kuntar’s relase sent chilling reminders of Chamberlain’s efforts to secure peace; or the IRA murderers given their ill-gotten freedom by Blair’s government; the US government’s protection of Arafat in 1982; the attempted appeasement of Saddam Hussein before the 1990 Gulf War; the encouraged promotion of Islamic culture above all others in Western countries by Western governments; the suggestions of British judges for allowing some form of sharia law in Britain – the last hundred years have shown a frightening propensity for the West to fail to learn from its mistakes and to allow the forces of evil a chance to exist and prosper.

At the time, the release of the five terrorists for two dead Israeli soldiers, met one of Hezbollah’s few demands, another being the return of the Sheba farms to Lebanon. Is it that these unforgettable years of terrorism, torture, murder – the kind of cruelty unimaginable to civilized society – have all just been for the return of a few hundred yards of farm and a child murderer? – appeasement gives terror groups and terror States the time and support to commit even worse atrocities.

After Kuntar’s release, Hamas decided it was no longer going to agree to Israeli terms for the return of Gilad Shalit and was to demand greater returns for the terrorist group. Furthermore, a group of British MPs called for a dialogue with Palestinian terror groups, Hamas included; breaking the policy of no recognition that most Western countries had pursued at the time.

These endless sacrifices for Shalit may all be in vain. It is Israel’s duty to return that soldier home, but in doing so, should it be risking the lives and well-being of her other citizens?

Sam Westrop runs the Institute for Middle Eastern Democracy

Posted under Articles, Commentary, Islam, Israel, jihad, middle east, Muslims, News, Terrorism, War by Jillian Becker on Friday, October 2, 2009

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